Concept
Collecting silence is a research and art project about silence. The aim of this project is to research and record the effects of silence inwards (is silence relaxing, inspiring?) as well as outwards (what do silent places look like, what happens there?). New media artist Danielle Roberts visits different locations where silence may be expected. The locations have one or more of the following characteristics: remote, (financially) unattractive, closed or they are visited at a special time. She searches in obvious and not so obvious places to find silence. By silence we mean the absence of the continuous stream of noise produced by human activity (e.g. traffic noise, industrial noise, etc.)

SilenceCollector

Especially for this project a custom made device has been developed: the SilenceCollector. It's purpose is to log the data presented on this website: the exact geographical location of the recorded silence, the decibel level, the stress level and visual data in form of a photograph. Danielle Roberts carries this device around during the research periods. It generates automated and accurate data which can be transferred to internet and displayed on this website.

Website
The website gives an up-to-date account of the project. When possible new information is added daily. It displays the data collected by the SilenceCollector in two ways: maps and a scrapbook. You may switch between the map and scrapbook using the tabs. The homepage gives an overview of the 5 places visited most recently. You can zoom in and mouse over all the recorded tracks and quickly access the main data. When you click on special icons you can view the scrapbook page of that location. Alternatively you can visit the scrapbook, choose and view a page. The scrapbook is a collection of all sorts of information about a specific location. Besides reading the data you can play video's, listen to sounds (or silence), view drawings, objects and read the diary or visit some of the external links. Every scrapbook page gives you the opportunity to ad and read comments.

Artist
Danielle Roberts has been working as a new media artist since 1998 but she was originally trained as a monumental designer / sculptor. Silence and awareness are a source of inspiration to her. This project deepens her knowledge of and experience with these subjects. The bulk of her work can be viewed on her website www.numuseum.nl. Danielle Roberts also runs her own company "Isodoor webproducties" which specialises in design and development of quality websites (www.isodoor.nl).
For the Collecting silence project she's responsible for the concept, graphical design and (Flash 8) programming of the website as well as all the content on the website.

Technique
- Website maps: uses the Google maps API version 2. All data is dynamically rendered as XML files using a MySQL 3.23.58 database and PHP 4.3.11
- Website scrapbook: is build with Adobe Flash 8 professional and ActionScript 1 and exported to be played with Flashplayer 7. The scrapbook uses dynamic data (MySQL, PHP) and static data.
- SilenceCollector: uses a Basic Stamp BS2pe microcontroller, Garmin Etrex Euro GPS, Center 322 sound level meter, Fujifilm MX-1200 digital camera and a custom made Galvanic Skin Response sensor.
- VBcapture: custom build software build with Visual Basic used for writing the collected data as SQL statements to a plain text file. Requirements: A javascript enabled browser and Flash 7 plugin.

Sponsors
This project is made possible by the financial support from:
Nieuwe Brabantse Kunst Stichting
Fonds voor Beeldende kunsten, Vormgeving en Bouwkunst

Thanks
Special thanks go to:
Richard van Bemmelen (PBasic 2.5 and Visual Basic programming)
Marius Klein (Hardware, PBasic programming)
Henk Bakker (Communication advice)
Liong Lie (Electronics)
Christian Nolde (Inspiration)
Dedication:
This website is dedicated to my cousin Carla Klaassen

Contact
Danielle Roberts is very interested to learn about other silent locations and personal experiences with silence. If you have any comments on or suggestions for this project please contact her:
e-mail: info[at]collectingsilence[dot]org

Copyright
All the material (graphics and code) on this website is copyright of Danielle Roberts, unless otherwise stated. Nothing of this site may be published in any form without written permission of Danielle Roberts.
A link to this website is appreciated.